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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth is fine with manager Davey Johnson's plan to shuffle the lineup after the team dropped below .500 with its ninth loss in 12 games.

Even told Johnson he'd be OK moving out of his No. 2 slot in the batting order after Washington's 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday completed a three-game sweep.

Something needs to change, Werth knows.

"We need to jumble it up, and we need to switch the `mojo' a little bit," Werth said, sitting in front of his locker in the home clubhouse at Nationals Park. "I think somebody was talking about (former NBA coach) Phil Jackson the other day. We need to call him up, have him come in here and burn some sage or something. We're not very `feng shui' right now."

Johnson said he would insert bench player Steve Lombardozzi in the lineup Thursday against Cincinnati and make other changes for a club that scored four runs in three days against St. Louis and is averaging 2.9 runs over its last dozen games.

"It's frustrating. We're just not doing the things we're capable of doing," Johnson said. "Guys are trying to do too much. (Ian Desmond) looked like he was trying to hit the ball to the light tower. Little things where guys are trying to create something that's not there yet."

"It'll change, but I'm going to have to jumble things up a little bit," he added. "Try to light a fire."

Johnson's players seemed open to the idea of giving that a shot.

"If it works tomorrow, then it works," second baseman Danny Espinosa said.

The Nationals went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position Wednesday, after falling behind 3-0 in the first inning as Stephen Strasburg (1-4) lost his fourth consecutive start. It's the longest such stretch of the All-Star ace's young career.

The game's very first batter, Matt Carpenter, got it started against Strasburg by stretching a single into a double when Bryce Harper's throw to second base was bobbled and fell to the dirt.

One out later, Matt Holliday singled. Carlos Beltran walked. Then Yadier Molina delivered a two-run single. And a throwing error on Daniel Descalso's fielder's choice grounder padded the score.

Just like that, 23 pitches in, the Cardinals had a lead that would hold up.

"It was good to get on Strasburg early," Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma said. "That's what we were trying to do from the get-go, before he starts to settle in."

Jaime Garcia (2-1) allowed a run on Harper's sixth-inning groundout, but otherwise added to the offensive struggles of the Nationals, who have lost six consecutive home games while falling to 10-11.

Trying to generate something for Washington's slumbering offense, Desmond bunted for a base hit with one out in the second. He then stole second and advanced to third on a flyout to the warning track. But rookie third baseman Anthony Rendon struck out to end the inning.

Strasburg actually was the one who got Washington going at the plate, grounding a single up the middle to lead off the sixth. Denard Span followed with a single, and Werth's groundout moved the runners up for Harper. He grounded out to second, but at least that got Strasburg home with a rare run to make it 3-1.

A walk to Tyler Moore ended Garcia's day after four hits in 5 2-3 innings. Righty Joe Kelly entered to face Desmond, who struck out swinging and flung his bat and helmet.

In the seventh, a pair of singles put runners at the corners with one out, but Kelly got out of that jam when pinch-hitter Lombardozzi struck out and Jhonatan Solano, taking off from first on a hit-and-run, was thrown out at second by catcher Molina.

Werth's fourth homer, a solo shot to left off Trevor Rosenthal with one out in the eighth, gave Washington its second run. But that was too little to stop the Nationals from dropping below .500 for the first time since finishing the 2011 season 80-81.

"Somebody said last night it feels like we're 0-20, but it's not that bad. We're only one game under .500, and it's April. We'll be all right," Werth said. "What we're going through, it's the first time this team has dealt with expectations, and there's something to be said about that. But we'll adjust. The league has adjusted to us, we'll adjust to the league."

NOTES: The Nationals are hitting .235 as a team with a .299 on-base percentage and .402 slugging percentage. ... Washington is 1-8 against teams that entered Wednesday with winning records this season. ... Washington begins a four-game series against visiting Cincinnati on Thursday, when Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez (1-1, 5.85 ERA) faces RHP Bronson Arroyo (2-1, 3.54).

--- Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at HTTP://TWITTER.COM/HOWARDFENDRICH

© 2013 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.
Thursday, 25 April 2013 06:25
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   ST. LOUIS (AP) - Chris Stewart reached career milestones of 100 goals and 100 assists and the St. Louis Blues clinched a playoff berth with two games to spare, beating the Colorado Avalanche 3-1 on Tuesday night.

   Brian Elliott had to make just 17 saves two nights after getting yanked in a 5-3 loss at Colorado that squandered the Blues' first chance at clinching. St. Louis, which entered the game needing a point to qualify, scored two power play goals for the first time in 32 games since Feb. 15 in the home-and-home rematch.

   Patrik Berglund and Andy McDonald beat Semyon Varlamov on consecutive shots in the second period to make it 3-0. Together, that duo had mustered two assists in 14 games.

 
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 00:57
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NEW YORK (AP) -- Since 1936, the NFL has picked the best of college football to join the pro league. From the very first pick - Jay Berwanger, who also was the first bust, never playing a down in the NFL - to last year's No. 1, Andrew Luck, the draft has always offered plenty of intrigue for teams and fans.

Here are 10 things to watch for during the three-day NFL draft beginning Thursday night:

---

COMMISSIONER HUGGY BEAR

How many hugs can Roger Goodell endure from all the burly offensive and defensive players expected to be selected in the first round? Last year, he embraced many first-round picks who took the stage and was nearly hugged into submission by the likes of Fletcher Cox, Dontari Poe and Melvin Ingram.

---

SHOW ME A QUARTERBACK

Will any quarterbacks be taken in the first round? Possibilities include Geno Smith, Matt Barkley and EJ Manuel, but this is far from the glamour year of 2012, when QBs were huge: Luck, No. 1; Robert Griffin III, No. 2; Ryan Tannehill (No. 8); Brandon Weeden (No. 22). The last time no quarterback was taken in round one was 1996 (Tony Banks was a second-rounder, No. 42, by the Rams); the last time only one was taken was 2001 (Michael Vick, first overall) and the last time two were taken was 2010 (Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow).

---

FASHION STATEMENT

Fashionistas surely will be tracking the expensive, colorful designer suits, hairstyles (think dreadlocks) and even socks of the draftees as they take the stage after being selected. (Think Griffin, the Redskins' top pick in 2012, who wore a baby blue jacket, checkered-patterned shirt, purplish tie with horizontal stripes, and burgundy and gold socks with the words "GO CATCH YOUR DREAM."

---

TE'O TIME

When that will be exactly is anyone's guess. Some analysts have Notre Dame's All-American linebacker Manti Te'o back to being a first-round cinch, even after a great season was marred by a poor game against Alabama followed by the hoax involving a deceased "girlfriend." He did not perform well at the NFL combine, but did better at pro day in South Bend. ---

BEEFING UP EARLY

Watch for all the beef early in the first round. There's a chance seven of the first 10 picks could be really big fellas. Among them are offensive linemen Luke Joeckel (306 pounds), Eric Fisher (306), Chance Warmack (317), Lane Johnson (303) and Jonathan Cooper (311); and defensive linemen Sharrif Floyd (297) and Ziggy Ansah (271).

---

WILL TIDE ROLL AGAIN IN 1ST ROUND?

A year ago, the national champions had four players picked: RB Trent Richardson (No. 3), SS Mark Barron (No. 7), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (No.17) and LB Dont'a Hightower (No. 25). National champs again, there are five that could end up as first-rounders: Warmack, cornerback Dee Milliner, offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, defensive tackle Jesse Williams, and running back Eddie Lacy.

--- FAMILY TIES

Every year, a slew of players with family ties to the NFL are draft eligible. This year is no exception, with a few dozen all-in-the-family connections. Among them are QBs Nate Montana (son of Joe Montana) and Jordan Rodgers (brother of Aaron Rodgers), Jake Ryan (son of Pat Ryan), Duron Carter (son of Cris Carter), Luke Tasker (son of Steve Tasker), Kyle Long (son of Howie Long, brother of Chris Long) and Baker Steinkuhler (son of Dean Steinkuhler).

---

HALL OF FAME PICKERS

A total of 32 former NFL players will be announcing second- and third-round picks for teams, including newly elected Hall of Famers Jonathan Ogden (Ravens), Warren Sapp (Buccaneers) and Dave Robinson (Packers). Others making picks for their former teams include Deion Sanders (Falcons) and Larry Little (Dolphins).

--- BEST STORYLINES

Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden and South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore.

Hayden was moments from death last November after an on-field collision with a teammate tore a blood vessel off the back of his heart. He was taken to a hospital, underwent lifesaving surgery, and now could be a first-round pick. He ran a 4.33 40-yard dash at Houston's pro day in March, and now he'll wait to see if a team believes his talent and speed is worth the risk.

In 2011, Lattimore tore the ACL in his left knee midway through the season. He returned last year, and in October, the star running back suffered a horrific injury to his right knee against Tennessee - it was dislocated and ligaments were damaged as he was tackled. He had surgery a month later, continued rehabbing, and at South Carolina's pro day recently he impressed NFL scouts so much they applauded after his workout. He says he's confident he'll be ready to play when the 2013 season starts.

---

MR. IRRELEVANT

As the draft draws to a close Saturday, the fun revs up with the final pick, aka Mr. Irrelevant. As they did last year, the Colts have the honor at pick No. 254. Last year, they went for Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish (Andrew Luck was the Colts' other QB pick - at No. 1 overall). The last pick will be awarded the Lowsman (opposite of Heisman) Trophy during a weeklong celebration at the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach, Calif. In 2012, Harnish's first trip to California included golf at Big Canyon Country Club, a visit to Disneyland and parties galore. The founder of Irrelevant Week is Paul Salata, a former USC and NFL receiver. The first Mr. Irrelevant was WR Kelvin Kirk in 1976.

© 2013 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 11:04
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   WASHINGTON (AP) - Yadier Molina drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, backing Shelby Miller's strong start last night, and the St. Louis Cardinals returned to the site of their Game 5 NL division series victory last season with a 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals.

   The other big hit for St. Louis was Allen Craig's two-run double in the third.

   Miller (3-1) struck out eight in 6 2-3 innings, allowing two runs and four hits.

   All the Cardinals' runs came against Dan Haren (1-3), who gave up three runs and six hits in five-plus innings.

   Edward Mujica pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save. The Cardinals have alternated wins and losses over their last nine games.

   Washington has lost seven of 10.

 
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 02:20
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Erik Kratz hit a three-run home run to break the game open in the eighth inning and lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 7-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday night.

   Mike Adams (1-1) tossed a scoreless eighth inning to help the Phillies split the four-game series. The Phillies snapped a 3-3 tie with a four-run eighth that put the game away.

   Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 12 games with an infield single off reliever Mitchell Boggs (0-2). Dom Brown singled to put runners on the corners with one out. Ben Revere made it 4-3 on a go-ahead single up the middle.

   Kratz then hit the first pitch deep into the left-field seats for a three-run homer and a 7-3 lead.

 
Monday, 22 April 2013 01:15
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Rams 2013 Regular Season Schedule



Week 1 – Arizona 9/8 @ 3:25

Week 2 – at Atlanta 9/15 @ noon

Week 3 – at Dallas 9/22 @ noon

Week 4 – 49ers (Thursday) 9/26 @ 7:25

Week 5 – Jacksonville 10/6 @ noon

Week 6 – at Houston 10/13 @ noon

Week 7 – at Carolina 10/20 @ noon

Week 8 – Seattle (Monday) 10/28 @ 7:30

Week 9 – Tennessee 11/3 @ noon

Week 10 – at Indianapolis 11/10 @ noon

Week 11 – BYE 11/17

Week 12 – Chicago 11/24 @ noon

Week 13 – at SF 12/1 @ 3:25

Week 14 – at Arizona 12/8 @ 3:25

Week 15 – New Orleans 12/15 @ noon

Week 16 – Tampa 12/22 @ noon

Week 17 – at Seattle 12/29 @ 3:25

Friday, 19 April 2013 08:40
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   ST. LOUIS (AP) - Brian Elliott stopped all three chances in a shootout for the second straight game, bouncing back after a late goal denied him a fourth shutout this month, and the St. Louis Blues beat the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 last night to step closer to a playoff berth.

   Radim Vrbata's power-play goal tied it with 1:07 to go. The Coyotes, who were blanked 4-0 on Monday by the Sharks, capitalized on a boarding penalty against Blues captain David Backes.

   Andy McDonald was the first to go in the shootout and got the only goal, beating Chad Johnson.

   David Perron scored his first goal in 17 games for the offensively challenged Blues, who have scored two or fewer goals in 12 of their last 16 games. They've won 10 of those games thanks to tight defense and strong play in goal. They are 5-1 in shootouts.

 

Friday, 19 April 2013 02:48
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   PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Carlos Beltran hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth, Adam Wainwright pitched seven solid innings and the St. Louis Cardinals escaped a ninth-inning jam for a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies last night.

   Philadelphia put runners at first and third with nobody out against Edward Mujica, but the fill-in closer retired three straight batters to preserve the victory.

   Yadier Molina went 3 for 4 with two RBIs for the Cardinals, who had seven hits one night after getting held to Beltran's seventh-inning double in a 5-0 loss to A.J. Burnett and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

   Wainwright (3-1) wasn't as sharp as his previous start, when he pitched a four-hitter and matched a career high with 12 strikeouts Saturday in an 8-0 win over Milwaukee, but he was still effective.

 
Friday, 19 April 2013 02:44
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   PITTSBURGH (AP) - A.J. Burnett took a no-hitter into the seventh inning nearly 12 years after throwing the only one of his career, pitching the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 5-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.

   Burnett (1-2) lost his bid with two outs in the seventh on Carlos Beltran's double to right-center. That was the lone hit given up by the 36-year-old right-hander in seven dominant innings.

   The only other runner he allowed came when he hit Daniel Descalso with a 2-2 pitch with one out in the sixth to end his shot at a perfect game. Burnett struck out eight to raise his season total to 35 in 24 innings.

   His bid for a no-hitter came on a night when he recorded the 2,000th strikeout of his 15-year career. Burnett reached the milestone when he caught Beltran looking to lead off the second.

 
Thursday, 18 April 2013 01:20
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   The voice of football. The NFL's narrator for generations. A master of restraint.

   Pat Summerall soothed American television audiences over four decades — his deep, resonant voice and simple, understated style served as the perfect complement to the boisterous enthusiasm of John Madden, his partner in a celebrated pairing that lasted half of the NFL player-turned-announcer's career.

   Summerall died Tuesday at age 82 of cardiac arrest, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center spokesman Jeff Carlton said, speaking on behalf of Summerall's wife, Cheri.

   Summerall called 16 Super Bowls and became such a large part of the NFL that it was easy to forget he was the leading voice of the Masters and the U.S. Open tennis tournament, as well.

   "He was royalty in the broadcast booth," Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.

   His final play-by-play words beside Madden were succinct, of course, as he called the game-ending field goal of the Super Bowl for Fox on Feb. 3, 2002, when New England beat St. Louis 20-17.

   "It's right down the pipe. Adam Vinatieri. No time on the clock. And the Patriots have won Super Bowl XXXVI. Unbelievable," Summerall said.

   Sparse, exciting, perfect. A flawless summation without distracting from the reaction viewers could see on the screen.

   At the end of their final broadcast together, Madden described Summerall as "a treasure" and the "spirit of the National Football League" in a tribute to the partner that the former Oakland Raiders coach badly wanted to keep — and did — when he had to switch networks 20 years ago.

   "Pat was my broadcasting partner for a long time, but more than that he was my friend for all of these years," Madden said in a statement Tuesday. "Pat Summerall is the voice of football and always will be."

   Summerall played 10 NFL seasons from 1952 to 1961 with the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants, but it was in his second career that he became a voice familiar to generations of sports fans, not only those of the NFL.

   "Pat was a friend of nearly 40 years," CBS Sports broadcaster Verne Lundquist said. "He was a master of restraint in his commentary, an example for all of us. He was also one of the great storytellers who ever spoke into a microphone."

   Summerall started doing NFL games for CBS in 1964, and became a play-by-play guy 10 years later. He was also part of coverage of the PGA Tour, including the Masters from 1968-94, and U.S. Open tennis.

   When CBS lost its NFL deal after the 1993 season, Summerall switched to Fox to keep calling NFL games with Madden. Summerall had hoped to keep working with CBS for other events like the Masters, but network executives saw it otherwise. At the time, CBS Sports anchor Jim Nantz said he was "very saddened" that Summerall didn't get to leave CBS under his own terms.

   "Pat Summerall was a hero to me," Nantz said Tuesday. "I treasured the gift of friendship that I had with him. I was his understudy for 10 years. He could not have been more generous or kind to a young broadcaster."

   A recovering alcoholic, Summerall had a liver transplant in April 2004. The lifesaving surgery was necessary even after 12 years of sobriety.

   After an intervention involving, among others, former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, former CBS Sports President Peter Lund and former PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beaman, Summerall checked into the Betty Ford Clinic in April 1992.

   "I had no intention of quitting, I was having too good a time," Summerall said in a 2000 Associated Press story. "The prescribed stay at Betty Ford is 28 days. They kept me 33 because I was so angry at the people who did the intervention, the first five days didn't do me any good."

   Summerall received the liver of a 13-year-old junior high football player from Arkansas who died unexpectedly from an aneurysm. Summerall had an emotional meeting with the teenager's family the following year.

   "He always had a joke," Madden said. "Pat never complained and we never had an unhappy moment. He was something very special."

   Summerall often shared his testimony with Christian groups and told his story when speaking before other organizations. In his 2006 book, "Summerall: On and Off The Air," he frankly discussed his personal struggles and professional successes.

   Long before broadcasting Super Bowl games, 16 for television and 10 more for radio — in fact, before there was even a Super Bowl — Summerall played a role in what is known in football circles as "The Greatest Game Ever Played," the 1958 NFL championship. The Giants lost to the Baltimore Colts 23-17 in the NFL's first-ever overtime game.

   "Pat Summerall was one of the best friends and greatest contributors that the NFL has known," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "His majestic voice was treasured by millions of NFL fans for more than four decades. It is a sad day in the NFL."

   Born George Allen Summerall on May 10, 1930, in Lake City, Fla., he was an all-state prep football and basketball player there, and lettered in baseball and tennis. He played college football at Arkansas before going to the NFL.

   After breaking his arm in the preseason as a rookie for Detroit, Summerall played five years for the Chicago Cardinals before four seasons with the Giants. While he was also a defensive back, Summerall was primarily a kicker, making 100 field goals and 256 of 265 extra points in his career.

   The most famous was a 49-yarder through the wind and snow at Yankee Stadium that gave the Giants a 13-10 victory against the Cleveland Browns. The win gave the Giants the home field for a rematch with Cleveland in the playoffs, and a win in that game put New York in the famous title game against Baltimore.

   "Pat will always be a great Giant," team president John Mara said Tuesday. "He was one of my father's favorites, and his game-winning kick in the snow against the Browns in 1958 is one of the most memorable plays in our franchise's history."

   In a story distributed by the Giants, former teammate Frank Gifford — a longtime broadcaster himself — said Summerall was an underrated player because coach Jim Lee Howell and offensive assistant Vince Lombardi wanted to preserve him for kicking.

   "Lombardi didn't want him to get hurt," Gifford said. "But we didn't need him as a football player, we needed him as a kicker. I was going both ways and doing the kicking, too. We picked him up from the Cardinals and that was the end of my kicking career."

   When asked about his fondest NFL memories during a May 2009 interview with the AP, Summerall said there were things that stood out as a player and broadcaster.

   "You always remember the days as a player. I was in four championship games before there was a Super Bowl, so I remember those very well," he said. "Broadcasting, I remember the last (Super Bowl) I did. Of course, I remember that. I remember the first one most vividly than any of the rest."

   Summerall was part of the CBS broadcast of the inaugural Super Bowl in Los Angeles on Jan. 15, 1967. After working the first half in the broadcast booth, he switched places with Gifford at halftime and was a sideline reporter during the second half.

   "To look at the Coliseum that day and see that there were like 40,000 empty seats and the most expensive ticket was $12, it's incredible to realize what was going on and what it's grown to over the years," he said during the 2009 AP interview. "It's sort of staggering to me."

   Summerall, who spent his final years in the Dallas area, living in Southlake, was a member of the North Texas Super Bowl host committee for the game played there in February 2011 in the $1.1 billion Cowboys Stadium that opened in 2009.

   "His presence at an NFL game elevated that event to a higher level," Jones said. "There is no question that Pat broadcast more Dallas games on CBS and FOX than any other man, and this is a great loss for thousands of Cowboys fans who spent their Sunday afternoons in the living room with Pat."

   Summerall became a play-by-play announcer in 1974, and it was strictly by accident. He was working with Jack Buck, and CBS boss Bob Wussler thought the two commentators sounded too much alike. Summerall told Wussler that if a change was going to be made that he'd like to do play-by-play, and the following Sunday that's what Summerall was doing.

   After his final game with Madden, Summerall remained a full-time broadcaster for Fox one more season, doing primarily Dallas Cowboys games during the 2002 season. He decided to step down the following year when he realized he would spend most of the season away from home.

   Summerall did a handful of NFL games for Fox and ESPN the next few seasons. He did play-by-play for Fox's broadcast of the Cotton Bowl's games from 2007-10, then for the bowl's 75th anniversary in January 2011 conducted interviews as part of the pregame show and game broadcast. He also had voiceovers that were part of Masters broadcasts for CBS and game broadcasts on NFL Network.

   Funeral arrangements were incomplete.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013 03:34
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